Kick in the Pants: How to Ace a Video Interview
So you got the interview. Congratulations. But you don’t have the job yet. If the only thing that’s between you and your dream job is a video interview, it’s crucial for you to be extra prepared. Video interviews pose a whole new set of challenges for job candidates — and they aren’t all what you’d expect.
Video conference company PGi’s infographic on video interviews sheds light on some staggering statistics. Aside from reporting what we already knew — that video interviews are on the rise — they also reveal that the way we communicate over video differs greatly from the way we communicate in person. If you’re a Skype or Google Hangouts user, you already know that between technology glitches, faulty microphones, and time delays, getting our message across over video can be a big challenge. The infographic confirms what you may have already expected:
Your facial expression and tone of voice matter far more than the actual words you say.
True, it’s shocking to think that hires are made based upon factors that many of us don’t consciously control. But we see a silver lining in these statistics: First, video interviews have the ability to cut through some of the typical nervousness caused by in-person interviews because you are in the comfort of your own home. And second, when you put verbal communication on the back burner, it frees you up to find your “personality match” at a job — a factor that can play a big role in how happy you will be at the company.
When you look at it this way, it’s easy to see many reasons to embrace the format of the video interview.
Still, a video interview requires just as much preparation as an in-person interview, only the typical interview prep advice needs a little update. The following are some tips that can help you put your best foot forward, even when you’re not asked to step outside your home:
Do your part to make the interview go smoothly.
The same courtesies that apply to an in-person interview also apply to a video interview. This means you must show up on time and not let technical difficulties stop you. It’s imperative to test your equipment beforehand. Make sure your computer is charged, your microphone works, and that you have a steady internet connection in a quiet, calm space. Also, know how your equipment works. If you will be asked to screenshare as part of the interview, be 100% sure you aren’t sharing too much.
How you look and act matter more than ever.
Your interviewers may only see you from the waist up, but that half is crucial. Video interviews are the right time to break out your inner film director and plan out your wardrobe, angles, and lighting. It doesn’t make you vain — these are precautions that allow your interviewers to see you clearly and not get distracted. Set yourself up in front of a solid background with the camera at eye level, and make sure you aren’t backlit. Look at the camera, not the screen, so you make digital “eye contact” with your interviewers. And remember to speak a little more slowly and clearly than you need to in person.
Have you sent over all important documents ahead of time? Do you know each of your interviewers’ names? Have you planned out answers to potential questions? The better prepared you are, the smoother the video interview process will go, and the better “digital” impression you’ll make.
Remember, you’re working with a different set of challenges in a video interview, but it’s also a different set of benefits. Work to create a frictionless interview experience where you can showcase how bright, friendly, and interested you are, and you’ll be well ahead of the curve.
Take a crash course.
Believe it or not, but you can get help. Just like you would take a course on almost anything, you can take mock interview courses to improve your skills here. Yes, it takes eating some humble pie, but it’s wise to find out where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Click here to learn more about our Video Interviewing Crash Course.
Stephen Van Vreede is not your average IT/technical résumé writer. He provides career strategy and concierge job search solutions for senior (15+ years) (ITtechExec) and up-and-coming (NoddlePlace) (5-15 years) tech and technical operations leaders. Stephen and his team focus on building simplified, targeted, and certain career move campaigns, be it an external search or an internal promotion. He is co-author of UNcommon with career development leader Brian Tracy (out June 11, 2015). Contact Stephen directly at Stephen@ittechexec.com or send him an invite at https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenvanvreede. To see whether Stephen and his team are a good fit for you, take their free (and anonymous) 1-minute compatibility quiz, Is the ITtechExec Approach a Good Match for You? Also, feel free to take his complimentary resume self-assessment quiz, How Certain Can You Be About Your Technical Resume? You might be surprised by what you find out!